It’s strange to consider that Xiaomi have only been around for a little over four years. They’ve gone from being a relatively unknown to a manufacturer of quality, inexpensive hardware (such as the Xiaomi Mi4) that competes with the household Android device manufacturers, plus has a side helping of MIUI, Xiaomi’s Android-based user interface, and a plethora of additional online services. Xiaomi’s online services are a means of earning money from customers and essentially subsidize their handset prices. This business strategy has already proven successful and Xiaomi are the largest Chinese smartphone manufacturer with ambitions to expand their business outside of Asia. We’ve already seen evidence of this with their latest devices on sale in the saturated Western smartphone markets as well as the developing smartphone markets. Now, Xiaomi have announced plans to establish data centres out of China, housing international MIUI services from Amazon AWS data centers in Oregon USA and Singapore. The company will also be working with local providers in other regions to ensure faster connections.
There are a couple of reasons for this decision and I’m confident that this just the first stage in an international rollout. Xiaomi say that it will improve the customer experience by bringing their servers closer and so cut down on the timing delays when using these services. Xiaomi Vice President Hugo Barra said, “With this migration, we are expecting to cut network request latency for users in India by up to 350ms, and users in Malaysia to experience two to three times faster Mi Cloud photosync.” Providing timely access to Xiaomi’s online services is going to be increasingly important as the number of Xiaomi devices around the world increases.
The second reason is because it should provide some reassurance for customers using their online services who may be fearful over Xiaomi’s mixed privacy record. Earlier this year, Xiaomi was caught sharing data with a Chinese server without consent. The business quickly moved to provide customers with an opt-out, but relocating servers away from mainland China should ease concerns that the business is working with China’s government to siphon data. Hugo had this to say about the matter, “moving to a multi-site server … better equips us to maintain high privacy standards and comply with local data protection regulations.”
What do you think to Xiaomi moving some of their infrastructure away from China? It may increase their costs but would it help your confidence in their privacy, and of course improved performance is always welcome? Hit us up in the comments below.